First of Harvest
eighth day of the new moon (waxing gibbous)
Philippa Darry and Connor Darry’s escort continued towards Green Rivers. Connor confided to his wife that he was coming to the conclusion that it would be necessary for him to become Lord Darry in order to provide a unified front in the face of the orkish threat and Imperial Guard. He did not, however, assume the title then and there.
Valon Sarqhardt discovered that he was able to stomach water, but not beer, leading him to suspect that his condition was simply the inability to eat foods that had been processed in any way.
Valon and Olive Mollin explained their adventures in the catacombs below Fairbanks, and their strong suspicion that the Inquisition, like the Guard and the Mechanicus, was a heretical organization. Thaddeus Korteau himself was clearly a witch, as was Sarah Owens, his henchwoman. Connor and Philippa were less convinced. Valon himself was a self-confessed heretic, Korteau took a personal interest in Connor’s recovery, and Owens took it upon herself to find and execute Vhetin Cooper’s rapist.
Polynikes Callistos continued Olive’s instruction on the march, during which he discussed the seemingly widespread use of witches by offworlder organizations. Polynikes claimed a distinction between a “witch” and a “psyker,” or more specifically a sanctioned psyker. While both were witches in the sense of being able to draw power from the Empyrean with their minds, he claimed that the Imperium sanctions psykers not unlike the way a mutant can be sanctioned. Sanctioned psykers are, he claimed, rigorously disciplined and in some cases even brought before the literal Golden Throne on Holy Terra to be soul-bound to the Emperor himself. Without them, he said, the Imperium would fall apart, as among the services that only they can provide is the transmission of messages between stars, and ships would become lost in the trackless depths of space.
Connor and Philippa sent Kate Fraser to request Polynikes’ attendance at the head of the column, but he was absorbed with his instruction of Olive, and said that he would come later. In the afternoon, however, the sky was lit by a great bright flash. Polynikes said that only an exploding starship in orbit could create such a flash, and based on his last knowledge of the Imperial Guard’s disposition, it was probably a transport of some kind holding some significant portion of Vikram al Gerez’s reserves or war materiel. He immediately went to Connor and Philippa, warning them that if he was correct, two new dangers had just presented themselves. First, the Imperial Guard would likely become even more desperate, and thus more dangerous and unpredictable. Second, a new force must have arrived at Nova, one whose identity he could not guess at, but which was likely to be hostile to humans. He recommended that the party increase its pace as much as possible, to clear the danger zone of the Umbran Jungle as fast as possible.